Debbie Felder serves as the Chief Practice Officer for the Finance Business Unit and is a member of the Restructuring group.
As Chief Practice Officer, Debbie advises on strategic planning, operations, and management of Orrick's Banking & Finance, Public Finance, Real Estate, Restructuring, and Structured Finance practice groups, which comprise more than 200 attorneys globally. Her responsibilities include oversight of the Finance Business Unit's financial performance, advancement of the Unit's strategic initiatives, business planning and execution, and lawyer recruiting.
As a lawyer in Orrick's Restructuring group, Debbie represents secured and unsecured creditors, investors, lenders, asset purchasers, financial institutions, preference defendants, debtors and other parties in a wide variety of bankruptcy and restructuring matters, as well as in related litigation throughout the United States. In 2020 and 2021, Chambers USA named Debbie an Associate to Watch in the District of Columbia’s Bankruptcy/Restructuring category, and clients praised her as “extremely knowledgeable” and providing “very business-minded, practical advice in the most efficient manner possible.”
Debbie is currently the lead restructuring associate representing the court-appointed representative for future asbestos personal injury claimants in a complex Chapter 11 pending.
Debbie was the lead restructuring associate representing Toyota in the $30 billion bankruptcy of Takata Corporation. Takata and several of its subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States and sought bankruptcy protection in Japan and several other jurisdictions in the aftermath of a worldwide problem involving faulty airbag inflators that led to numerous deaths and the recall of millions of vehicles. Toyota was one of the largest creditors in the proceedings, with claims of over $7 billion. Orrick’s work in the Takata bankruptcy and restructuring matter – which included the sale of all of Takata’s assets except for the inflator business to the Chinese-owned, Michigan-based Key Safety Systems – was awarded the “2019 Cross Border Turnaround of the Year / Large” by Global M&A Network.
Debbie was also the lead restructuring associate in the representation of the Conflicts Committee of Seadrill Partners (SDLP) in the $14 billion Chapter 11 bankruptcy and associated restructuring proceedings of Seadrill Limited, SDLP’s parent company. This bankruptcy and related restructuring was awarded “2019 Cross Border Turnaround of the Year / Mega” by Global M&A Network.
Other recent notable engagements include representing counsel to a borrower in the restructuring of a toll road, representing financial institutions and others in the global Lehman insolvency proceedings, representing a lender in the restructuring of a performing arts center, representing a purchaser in a section 363 bankruptcy sale and representing a defendant in a preference and fraudulent transfer litigation.
Debbie is active in pro bono matters including advising distressed clients in corporate dissolution proceedings pursuant to state statutes. She recently drafted a white paper on “Pay for Success” (PFS) programs – a social services funding mechanism in which non-governmental investors fund social programs and receive returns on their investments from the government only if the programs are successful – which explores the feasibility of using PFS programs to provide civil legal aid to vulnerable populations. She also represents proposed guardians and adoptive parents in connection with guardianship and adoption proceedings involving abused or neglected children in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.
In addition, Debbie serves as Orrick's Risk Management Counsel where she advises the Firm's management and more than 1,100 Orrick lawyers across the world on issues related to professional responsibility, risk management, and legal issues involving the Firm.
Debbie regularly presents CLE training programs to clients on bankruptcy-related topics, including best practices for creditors.
Prior to joining Orrick, Debbie was an associate at Swidler Berlin LLP. As an undergraduate, she spent four summers as an intern in the Clerk’s Office of the United States Supreme Court. During her time at the United States Supreme Court, Debbie researched and wrote a paper on the U.S. Attorneys General, which she presented to the U.S. Solicitor General.